Market Musings

‘Pirate of International Stature’ Linked to BTC-e Exchange Jailed for Five Years

Published on:
December 7, 2020

Alexander Vinnick has been jailed for five years in a French court case after being convicted of money laundering.

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A Russian man described as a “pirate of international stature” has been jailed for five years in France after being convicted of money laundering.


Alexander Vinnik had been accused of being the mastermind behind BTC-e — and in 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice claimed “he stole identities, facilitating drug trafficking, and helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world.”  


He was extradited to France to stand trial after a prolonged legal battle earlier this year, but has long maintained that he was merely an employee of BTC-e and not associated with the owners.


France had accused Vinnik of being associated with the spread of ransomware known as Locky, which had affected about 200 people within the country.


Prosecutors had been seeking a 10-year prison sentence during the trial in Paris — but according to local media, he was given a lesser term after being acquitted of 13 of the 14 offenses he was accused of. A judge concluded that he was not responsible for the cyberattacks, but had played a role in laundering the proceeds.


Vinnik was also ordered to pay a fine of €100,000 — and this too was substantially less than the €750,000 requested by prosecutors.


The 41-year-old’s lawyer has suggested that they plan to appeal the verdict.


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